Corticosteroids – topical or oral administration, can help with the reduction of inflammation and also contribute to the improvement of the other symptoms (cannot be administered for prolonged periods of time, due to their negative effects over the general health). Anti-inflammatory medication – topical or oral administration, can reduce the inflammation and also the pain or discomfort experienced by the patient. Anti-histamines – recommended in case of an allergic reaction (oral or topical administration).
Antibiotics might be administered in the post-surgical period, as to reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infections.
The health information provided on this web site is for educational purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. A 38 year-old professional fisherman presents to your emergency department after returning to shore from a 3 week trip. Consider possible underlying causes — trauma, surgery, ENT or systemic infection, diabetes mellitus, and immunosuppression. Erythromycin ointment qid — for corneal exposure and chemosis if there is severe proptosis.
Periorbital (or preseptal) cellulitis is a soft-tissue infection of the eyelids that does not extend past the orbital septum posteriorly. Eyelids that are swollen do not only make it hard for some individual to see, but can as well be quite annoying. Commonly known as pinkeye, this is red, itchy and swelling of the conjunctiva of the eye which is the protective membrane lining the eyelids as well as the exposed regions of the eyeball. This is inflammation of the margin of the eye and is usually caused by seborrheic dermatitis which is a skin disorder or bacterial infection.
Styes are normally caused by infections from bacteria that occur in the oil or sweat producing glands at the base of the eyelashes. Depending on the reason as well as the severity of the swollen eyelid, an individual may or may not need to seek attention from their eye physician.
This website is for informational purposes only and Is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Infiltrative ophthalmopathy is a characteristic feature of Graves’, clinically apparent in 25 to 50% of these patients (4). A characteristic feature is lid retraction, which results in scleral show and creates a staring appearance. Likewise, restriction is more responsible than muscle weakness for diplopia and abnormal eye movements in a patient with thyroid ophthalmopathy. This 55 year old woman was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 6 years prior, but only in the last 6 months had noted periorbital puffiness, redness and bulging of her eyes, without diplopia. A patient-symptom questionnaire has been developed for patients with Graves’ disease to identify patients likely to have thyroid-associated orbitopathy (22). A recent study using digital infrared thermal imaging demonstrated increased orbital temperature in thyroid ophthalmopathy (20), with a positive correlation between temperature and the severity of orbital disease, and a decrease in temperature following pulse methylprednisone therapy. Recent studies have shown that psychological morbidity is common in patients with Graves’ orbitopathy (43, 44).
The few patients with progressive proptosis, corneal exposure or optic neuropathy require more aggressive therapy.
Another possible role for steroid therapy is as an adjunct to control additional inflammation induced by other treatment modalities, such as radiation or orbital decompression (1).
Simple orbital fat removal removes orbital contents rather than accommodating them within a larger space. Many children have small but enlarged lymph nodes in the cervical, axillary and inguinal regions. The MR below was done on a child who had a long history of nasal congestion and increasing difficulty breathing at night. Wilms tumor - due to renin produced by Wilms tumor cells or again due to renovascular compromise. The MR below was done on a child who complained of low abdominal pain and on examination was found to have a tender mass palpable in the left iliac fossa. The inflammation is accompanied by the buildup of fluid around the eyes, hence the actual name. Over the past week he has had progressively worsening left eye symptoms and is now feeling quite unwell.
He reports a history of double vision but now he has trouble seeing anything out of his left eye. What causative organisms are usually responsible for this condition in the different settings in which it can occur?
What are the clinical features of this condition, and how is it distinguished from the goggle-eyed fisherman’s diagnosis?
The Wills Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease (5th edition). Rosena€™s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice, 7th edition (2009) Mosby, Inc. Key areas of interest include: the ED-ICU interface, toxicology, simulation and the free open-access meducation (FOAM) revolution.


Our Team, headed by Mike Cadogan & Chris Nickson, consists (mostly) of emergency physicians and intensivists based in Australia and New Zealand. It is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies are produced against the thyroid gland, predominantly targeting the TSH receptor, the result being increased production of thyroid hormones. While the orbital component of Graves’ disease is not completely understood, it is believed to be a multifactorial process with cellular, immunologic and mechanical effects (4).
Note the characteristic limitation of elevation OD, from restrictive myopathy of the inferior rectus. Thyroid ophthalmopathy causes proptosis and inflammatory swelling of the conjunctival and periorbital tissues. Various criteria have been proposed, such as the association of lid retraction with one or more of: thyroid dysfunction, exophthalmos (20mm or more on Hertl measurements), extraocular muscle disease, or optic neuropathy (10). When compared to a standardized orbital ophthalmic examination, the questionnaire was found to be highly sensitivity of 76% and specificity of 82%. However, in approximately 40% of patients, orbitopathy develops after the onset of the hyperthyroidism (11). While lid retraction is common and diplopia is present in 5 to 10% of patients with thyroid ophthalmopathy, ptosis is rare (8), and should suggest myasthenia instead..
Typically the problem remains stable or shows only very slow progression, with minor exacerbations and remissions (13); however, 10 to 15% of affected patients develop more severe, persistent disease (23), with surgery required in less than 5% (21). Lid retraction and proptosis may cause corneal exposure with keratitis, causing tearing and gritty sensation in the eyes. Smoking is associated with irritation of inflamed orbital tissues and more severe progression of the disease (28) and should be stopped.
Significant diplopia can be temporarily managed with prisms or patching of the nondominant eye. This is directed at either reducing intra-orbital inflammation (steroids or radiation) or surgically enlarging the orbit to accommodate it.
Alternate routes of administration including retrobulbar injections and topical drops have been investigated but neither appears promising, given their lower response rate and limited extent of action. Orbital Irradiation: The effects of this therapy on reducing intra-orbital inflammation is are variable, and there is no standardized protocol (38). Surgery: To enlarge the orbit to accommodate the inflammatory bulk, the definitive treatment is orbital bone decompression (40).
It may provide a better motility and cosmetic result than orbital bone decompression, but its efficacy against optic nerve compression is not proven (42). Avila MP, Weiter JJ, Jalkh AE: Natural history of choroidal neovascularization in degenerative myopia. The condition can be acute but it can also appear as a chronic problem, due to aging and other pre-existing medical problems. If MRSA is suspected consult an infectious disease specialist and consider treatment with vancomycin. Females are affected four times more frequently than men; but the disease progresses more quickly and severely in males (1).
The conjunctivae arechemotic with dilated vessels, particularly over the hypertrophied muscle insertions, and the lids are puffy and erythematous. Abnormal lid elevation may partly reflect a hyper-adrenergic state if there is concurrent hyperthyroidism, but most often it is due mainly to a mechanical restriction from the myopathic changes in the levator muscle.
The most frequently affected muscles are the inferior and medial recti, causing limited elevation and abduction respectively. In the absence of lid retraction, laboratory evidence of thyroid hormonal dysfunction along with one or more of the other signs suffices. The results produced a screening rule, the Vancouver Orbitopathy Rule: patients with newly diagnosed hyperthyroidism who respond positively to certain questions are identified as requiring early referral for ophthalmologic assessment. As such, patients with Graves’ orbitopathy may be hyperthyroid, euthyroid, or even hypothyroid at the time of ophthalmic presentation (12). If untreated, ulceration with blurred vision, pain, photophobia and redness may follow, requiring urgent eye care. Together, these four disease parameters may be measured and scored in order to classify the extent of disease. Surgical intervention for diplopia is not offered until the disease stabilizes, which generally occurs between 1 and 4 years following disease onset (1). As such, a biopsychosocial approach that focuses on biological as well as psychosocial functioning is an appropriate strategy for managing patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Steroids can reduce progression but the value of their long-term use is debatable in most patients, given the minimal rate of deterioration in most and frequent side effects (29, 30). Other immunosuppressive therapies have been used, including azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, and methotrexate; however, their effects are less understood (36). Its indications include i) exophthalmos with exposure keratitis and ii) apical compression of the optic nerve. Pathogenesis of graves ophthalmopathy: implications for prediction, prevention, and treatment.
Temporal relationship between onset of Graves’ ophthalmopathy and diagnosis of thyrotoxicosis.


Clinical utility of thyrotropin-receptor antibody assays: comparison of radioreceptor and bioassay methods. A new ultrasonographic method to detect disease activity and predict response to immunosuppressive treatment in Graves’ ophthalmopathy.
Development and validation of a patient symptom questionnaire to facilitate early diagnosis of thyroid-associated orbitopathy in Graves’ disease. Use of corticosteroids to prevent progression of Graves’ ophthalmopathy after radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism.
Efficacy of corticosteroids and external beam radiation in the management of moderate to severe thyroid eye disease. New-onset acute heart failure after intravenous glucocorticoid pulse therapy in a patient with Graves’ ophthalmopathy.
Fatal liver failure after high-dose glucocorticoid pulse therapy in a patient with severe thyroid eye disease. Orbital radiation for graves ophthalmopathy: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In order to treat the periorbital edema, one can use symptomatic treatments but it is more important to address the underlying health problem. Genetic and environmental factors such as thyroid surgery, thyroid inflammation, trauma, radiation exposure, and smoking, are important contributors to the pathogenesis of the disease (2, 3). Inflammatory cells infiltrate the orbital tissues, predominantly the extraocular muscles, and release cytokines. The disease usually involves both eyes, although it may be asymmetric or initially unilateral. Ophthalmopathy can even develop years after treatment for hyperthyroidism, although 80% of patients do so within 18 months of the discovery of the thyroid hormonal abnormality (13). It must be stressed that the two disorders frequently coexist: Myasthenia is 20 to 30 times more common in patients with thyroid ophthalmopathy as it is in the general population (9).
It can then help direct management of patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy in an appropriate sequence, by targeting the most relevant aspect of the disease affecting the patient. Prednisone is probably more effective than cyclosporine, with 61% responding over 3 months, but a combination of the two may be more effective than either alone (37).
Results may be seen within 1 to 8 weeks; however, eyelid retraction, proptosis, soft tissue changes, and restrictive strabismus will likely not improve (1, 39). Retro-orbital radiation and radioactive iodide ablation of the thyroid may be good for Graves’ ophthalmopathy.
Pruett RC, Weiter JJ, Goldstein RG: Myopic cracks, angioid streaks, and traumatic tears in Bruch's membrane.
The scan shows a large tumor (#1) filling his nasopharynx and extending inferiorly to also obstruct his oropharynx.
Once the underlying illness has been successfully treated, the periorbital edema will disappear as well. We don’t give Ab , only antihistamine…how to differentiate between periorbital cellulitis and local allergic reaction? These cytokines then stimulate cell proliferation, production of hydrophilic glycosaminoglycan and collagen, and recruit new fat cells from orbital adipose precursor cells (5).
Thyroid anti-microsomal and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies are useful in confirming the autoimmune state, even in patients with normal thyroid hormonal levels, but do not correlate with severity and have limited sensitivity to the disorder (14). This can be seen on imaging, but should be a clinical rather than a radiologic diagnosis (1, 25). Patients with acute inflammation in an active phase of disease may benefit temporarily from a short course of prednisone 60 to 100mg per day for several days, then tapered over a number of weeks (1). Dry eye is the most common complication of radiation therapy, with radiation retinopathy occurring in approximately 1 to 2% of patients. Hyams SW, Neumann E: Peripheral retina in myopia with particular reference to retinal breaks. The end result is edema, fatty infiltration, and eventual fibrosis of affected orbital tissues. There may be a rebound inflammatory response after the taper; thus while the response rate to steroids ranges from 63 to 77%, disease recurs commonly after cessation of treatment (32). Optic neuropathy can be subacute, with disc edema, or chronic, with insidiously progressive optic atrophy (12).
Recent studies suggest that weekly pulse doses of intravenous glucocorticosteroids may be more effective than daily oral glucocorticoids, but may be associated with higher morbidity and mortality (33-35). Application of digital infrared thermal imaging in determining inflammatory state and follow-up effect of methylprednisolone pulse therapy in patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy. For these reasons, patients with thyroid ophthalmopathy must be monitored periodically, roughly every 1 to 3 months at first, with tests of vision, perimetry, and corneal examination.
The recommended order of procedures is decompression initially, followed by strabismus surgery and eyelid repair (41).



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